Another chapter unfolds in the Grands Crus du Languedoc story.
A recent article in the Revue du Vin de France about the terroirs they believe to be Grands Crus du Languedoc shows disagreement with the CIVL classification. Notably, they include the Cabardes (my appellation and the subject of my book “Wines of Carcassonne“) as a grand cru. It makes me happy that the Cabardes made it onto the VIP list. And while the disagreement between the prestigious wine magazine and the interprofessional organization seems like it could damage the promotional efforts of the “grands crus” system, it will only be noticed by wine nerds like me.
In more detail
So the RVF decided to name their top 11 grands crus. I was excited to see my own appellation named as one of the grand crus of the Languedoc. GO CABARDES! There’s a nice little portrait of one of my neighbors, Clement Mengus and they talk briefly about how we are the westernmost appellation in the Languedoc and we’re doing interesting things.
Now where this gets weird is that the CIVL doesn’t actually consider us a grand cru. And we don’t have the legal right to use the trademarked phrase “grand cru du languedoc” on our labels even though my wines meet all the requirements for the grands crus status. And apparently, experts agree that the Cabardes is a grand cru.
Part of me is a little worried about the mixed messages of this initiative. On the other hand, I should repeat that this worry is silly because only the nerdiest wine geeks will even notice discrepancies like the RVF-CIVL disagreement. The important part of this article is that people will read about my beautiful appellation and may be inspired to try our wines or to read other books about the Cabardes. Just as the important part of the CIVL grands crus initiative is that people will see “grand cru du Languedoc” on a wine label and some people will be inspired to try a bottle of Languedoc thanks to that initiative. That is the important thing. It’s much more important than the nervous rambling I get into when people start asking me serious questions about it.
Differences between the RVF and CIVL Grands Crus du Languedoc
PS, since people will ask, the RVF’s Grands Crus du Languedoc are:
Aniane-Puechabon (part of the terrasses du larzac)
Terrasses du Larzac
Pic Saint Loup
Minervois la Liviniere
Notable differences include the strange specificity of Aniane-Puechabon, a part of the terrasses du larzac. This is especially odd since the terrasses du larzac themselves are just a specific cru within the AOC Coteaux du Languedoc. And so their number 1 grand cru is actually a subset of their number 2 grand cru, neither of which is technically an AOC. It’s also notable that the RVF included ALL of Saint Chinian instead of specifying certain crus within it like the CIVL did (eg roquebrun). Inclusion of Cabardes, as mentioned before, defies the CIVL’s initiative and makes me gleeful because I know we deserve to be a grand cru. The omission of Gres de Montpellier from RVF’s list might shock a few winemakers in the Herault since the Gres have been on the list since the CIVL’s earliest drafts back in the summer of 2010. Limoux’s still wines are also omitted although I’ve seen them on and off the list lots of times.
If somebody has the official CIVL list that got released recently, please send it to me so I can repost. I’m having an absurdly hard time finding the official CIVL list. Here’s an article from December that has a CIVL list that seems very accurate based on what I’ve heard in aoc meetings.